Essence and New Orleans have signed a new three-year contract for the festival. New Orleans had argued that it had recovered sufficiently for the three-day festival to come back. The event itself, which had been held there for 11 years before Katrina, is just as likely to become an important part of the city's revival.
"Essence's return to Louisiana sends the signal to the world that we are back in business," said Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu in a statement. "This major event, which attracts over 200,000 visitors each year, will be a shot in the arm for our economy and the thousands of small businesses and employers that rely on tourists."
The festival will be held at two now-restored venues, the Superdome and the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Sponsors this year include Coca Cola Co., Kraft Foods, McDonald's, Budweiser, Chevrolet and Verizon.